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Feminism or Individualism?

            For years, it has been argued whether or not Henrik Ibsen's A Doll House is a play presenting the feminist arguments of the Nineteenth century. At the time of the play's debut, it was mainly viewed as an advocate to the Women's Rights Movement. In actuality, the play has nothing to do with women's rights and everything to do with individual rights. Nora is trying to find herself as a person, not as a woman. Nora's life represents the tragedy and comedy of most modern day (or what was at the time modern) marriages. .
             Nora fulfills the perfect image of the Nineteenth century woman. She is devoted wife and caring mother. She is also a prize for Torvald because of her beauty and dancing skills. She became what society expected of her, a delicate, childish, "care free" housewife. Nora had no real name for herself. Her husband didn't even call her by her given name, instead he used pet names such as "my little lark", "my squirrel", and "little spendthrift". Nora has no identity other than the one her husband gives her as his pet and the mother of his children. .
             When Nora is talking with Mrs. Linde in the beginning of the play, she says, "You"re proud that you worked so long and hard for your mother. And you"re also proud thinking of what you've done for your brothers. But listen to this, Kristine- I've also got something to be proud and happy for" (Ibsen 1575). This is what Nora wants, to be able to do something worth while. She thinks that what she has done, in borrowing money to save her husband's life, is a meaningful accomplishment. She has little sense of the world, and this shows it. Borrowing money from a stranger does not make Nora's life meaningful. Yes, she did help to save her husband, but she could have done so through safer means, such as talking to her father. However, this does demonstrate Nora's devotion to her husband. She was determined to save him, no matter what the costs. She doesn't realize the consequences of her actions.

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